A burst of yellow jets through the water, darting and weaving between brilliant blues and luminescent purples. You blink, you convince yourself that what you see is biologically possible. Coral flourishes in the tank, some species intricate as lace, home to dozens of tropical fish. There is not a Crayola crayon box in the world with enough colors to capture the vibrancy in this underwater paradise.
The Indo-China Tropical tank might be the most colorful tank in the New England Aquarium, but it is certainly not the only thing to see! I, with four of my fellow interns, was lucky enough to go on a tour of the aquarium led by the knowledgeable undersea ambassador, Tony LaCasse.
He gave us the full fascinating backstory of the aquarium’s role as a catalyst in driving development on the Boston waterfront. (SUPER exciting!)
We started our tour in front of the aquarium, sunlight scintillating against the steely modern architecture, which was added onto the original, minimalist façade of the building. Then, we descended into the depths, or at least we felt like we did: the dim blue lighting is intended to make you feel like you're 30 feet under water.
The aquarium is bustling with visitors, peering into the tanks or winding up the spiral walkway that hugs the magnificent central tank (once the largest in the world!). But above the human din, we hear the shrill squabbling of everyone’s favorite tuxedo wearers: penguins!
Next, we saw fur seals and sea lions. The two sea lion pups were crowd favorites, showing off and winning hearts. I, for one, am trying to convince me roommates to convert our bathtub into a sea lion habitat. Or, more realistically, I’ll just come back and visit.
Other attractions that you CANNOT miss: the new Shark and Ray Touch Tank. (Oh, you watched YouTube videos today? That’s cool. I touched a SHARK.) Also, be sure to catch the daily feedings and shows.
The New England Aquarium is not just a tourist destination. A hub of research and conservation efforts, the institution sends researchers and consultants out all over the world to study fish populations, advise corporations on sustainable seafood purchasing, and deepen our understanding of the deep blue mystery that covers most of our planet.
Check out our experience here. Make sure you listen to the very end!